Being Thankful this Thanksgiving
For many of us, Thanksgiving is a difficult time of year. We all know that we’re called to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18, Ephesians 5:20), but how can we truly be thankful when we’re living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to put food on the table and keep the lights on? How can we give thanks with a grateful heart when we’ve gone to appointment after appointment and still don’t have any answers to what plagues our bodies? How can we practice thanksgiving when our marriages are on the rocks, our kids are out of control, and our anxieties make life almost too much to bear?
If any of these situations resonate with you, and you’re wondering what exactly you have to be thankful for in this season, take a moment to breathe. Find a quiet (or at least relatively quiet) space to sit and grab out your Bible. The Bible is full of beautiful truths that we can always give thanks for, even if our lives don’t seem that great at the moment. Our quiet times in God’s Word prompt us to give thanks for three things.
Give Thanks for Who God Is
The Bible is a revelation of God’s character. From its very beginning, we can see that the Bible is a book about God. We see His eternality, that He has always existed, even before the creation of the world (Genesis 1:1). We see His omnipotence, that He created the entire universe and everything in it with just a few words (Genesis 1:3). We see His love, that He created mankind in His own image (Genesis 1:27).
As we venture deeper into the Scriptures, we discover more about who our God is. We learn that He is one in being, yet three in person (2 Corinthians 13:14). We learn that He is holy, righteous, and just, completely without sin (1 Samuel 2:2, Revelation 4:8b). We learn that He is mighty, conquering His enemies and bringing justice to the evildoer (Deuteronomy 32:4, Isaiah 61:8). We learn that He is sovereign and in control of even the smallest of details (Psalm 93:1-2, Isaiah 14:24).
Give Thanks for What God Has Done
The Bible is also a reminder of God’s actions. It not only chronicles who He is but how He has acted towards and worked through the lives of His people for millennia. Though His chosen people routinely disobeyed His commands and went after other gods, God remained faithful to them and showed them mercy (Exodus 34:6). He was patient with them, allowing the consequences of their sinful actions to lead them to repentance and draw them back into His loving arms (Numbers 14:18a, 2 Peter 2:9). He gave them grace upon grace, though they certainly did nothing to deserve it (John 1:16).
God has acted in the same way towards us! While we were yet sinners, He showed us mercy by sending His Son, Jesus, to die in our place and to pay the penalty for our sins (Romans 5:8-9, Ephesians 2:4-5). We did absolutely nothing to deserve this. It was simply an act of grace, unmerited favor (Ephesians 2:8-9). And when we stray and disobey and go after other idols, He remains faithful to us and patient with us, and He draws us back to Himself through His Holy Spirit (John 16:7-8).
Give Thanks for What God Will Do
Finally, the Bible is a reassurance of God’s promises. God is a faithful God who always keeps his word and never breaks His promises. Therefore, we can trust that everything written in the Bible is true. He has promised that He will always be with us and never forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:9). He has promised that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39). He has promised to forgive us whenever we confess our sins to Him (1 John 1:9). And He has promised to always hear our prayers (1 John 5:14-15).
When we find ourselves in certain situations and we see the state of the world around us, it can be easy to forget these promises and doubt the goodness of God. However, we can trust that God has a good plan for us and this world (Romans 8:28). As we near the end of the Scriptures, we see over and over again that Jesus has promised that He is coming again soon (Matthew 16:27, John 14:3, Acts 1:11, Revelation 22:12-13). When He returns, He will destroy sin and death and usher in a new, perfect earth (Isaiah 25:8, Revelation 21:2). On this earth, there will be no more sin, no more pain, no more sorrow, no more tears, no more missed rent payments, no more health issues, no more strife, no more anxiety, no more fear (Revelation 21:4). Our bodies will be made whole (1 Corinthians 15:51-53). We will live in harmony with our brothers and sisters in Christ. And we will live in the presence of our Lord and Savior forever (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
Give Thanks in ALL Circumstances
You may not feel like you have much to be thankful for in this season. You’re dealing with a hard circumstance, and you feel like God isn’t listening to your pleas and prayers. As you gather together with family, put some pie in the oven, and ponder what you can give thanks for this year, I encourage you to simply pull out your Bible and read. As you dive into the Word of God, you’ll see who God is, what God has done, and what God has promised to do in your life and in all the lives of those who call upon His name.
These beautiful and glorious truths ought to cause us to rejoice and be glad! No matter what is going on in our lives, we serve a mighty and faithful God who loves us even when we mess up, even when we doubt His goodness. The One who existed before creation and who providentially determines everything that happens on this earth cares deeply and intimately about us and our daily lives. Though we in no way deserve His kindness and favor, He continually showers us with grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Knowing that we could never save ourselves, He came down to earth in human flesh and died on a cross to save our souls from condemnation, and He is coming again to rid our world of all that is evil and wicked. When we reflect on all these things, how could we not give thanks and praise to our God?
I don’t know what you are going through right now, but regardless of what it is, you can and should be thankful this Thanksgiving. For it is God’s will for you to give thanks in all circumstances for His character, His actions, and His promises. And He always gives us what we need to help us to be obedient to His will.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV
|Tristany Corgan lives in sunny central Florida. She has a master's degree in Biblical Exposition from Liberty University, and she works as a Database Manager for the faith-based non-profit One More Child. She is an avid reader, amateur photographer, and self-proclaimed theology nerd, and she loves flowers, oldies music, and going to Disney World. Tristany has a passion for encouraging women to know and love the Word of God, and she writes about the Bible and theology regularly at tristanycorgan.com.